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Domestic borders to open to domestic travel

Passengers will be able to travel domestically without a COVID travel card as of June 8, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced on Monday.

This applies to all islands in The Bahamas, including those with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“As part of the ongoing and phased reopening of the country, domestic borders will be opened for regular domestic commercial flights and for domestic pleasure craft and yachts,” a statement from OPM said.

“…Passengers traveling from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Bimini by aircraft, mail boat or passenger ferry will be required to complete a standardized travel form and a standardized health form at the time of check-in.

“These short forms will be used to collect contact information and a COVID-19 risk assessment for health officials.

“The system announced today will replace the application and assessment process that was initially put in place to accommodate inter-island travel, effective immediately. Those who have already applied will receive travel authorization from the Ministry of Health by email prior to June 8.

“Individuals traveling aboard pleasure craft and yachts leaving from a marina in New Providence, Grand Bahama or Bimini should submit travel and health forms before departing. If leaving from a private dock, individuals will be required to fill out and submit forms at the point of entry.”

The statement noted that commercial airlines are expected to begin taking reservations for travel on Tuesday, June 2.

The previously announced policy called for people wishing to travel from islands with confirmed COVID-19 cases to other islands to obtain a COVID-19 travel card, pending a medical exam by a doctor determining that the person is at low risk for having COVID-19.

However, today’s announcement was a notable relaxation of that policy.

The Office of the Prime Minister said the tourism and health ministries are working on a digital solution to help streamline the new travel process and airlines are developing health and safety protocols to lessen the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus during travel.

The statement said those protocols include: enhanced cleaning procedures for aircraft and requiring that all staff utilize personal protective equipment (PPE). Travelers will be required to wear masks. There will also be procedures to ensure physical distancing during boarding and onboard the aircraft.

 

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